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General Aviation and Wind Towers

by John M. White |

Some time back I wrote a blog about wind towers and helicopter operations, and several readers commented that they did not see the risk to aircraft as being very serious. The question arises: Can General Aviation and Wind Towers co-exist? Wind Towers & Airplanes At the time my thoughts ran along the lines that they presented a hazard to low flying aircraft navigating in low visibility and ceilings to an accident site and back. As it turns out there are other unintended consequences from these huge wind farms. There is a large wind project underway in the Mid-Columbia river region of Washington State which, as it turns out, interferes with radar facilities run by the FAA. Apparently, these wind towers and wind mills cause scatter problems to a military radar site in Fossil, WA. The FAA has decided to suspend any additional installations of wind towers as this radar interference is deemed "unacceptable" by the FAA. Of course this has developers up in arms. There are some $ 2.5-$3 billion of planned development for wind farms which will increase property taxes, provide landowners with lucrative leases, create jobs and bring a lot of economic benefit for the Mid-Columbia region. Wind power developers and county governmental leaders are scurrying to find a solution to this problem. As I read about the amount of money involved in these projects, I wonder where it is coming from. I assume the Obama administration is funding these projects, but I wonder if they are really economically viable. I am not familiar with the area, but another problem could be the noise generated by these gigantic wind turbines. Another problem which may arise would be the problem of killing birds that fly into the whirling blades of these machines. Sooner or later the bird watchers and nature lovers will take an interest in these projects as well. So, the question is: Can General Aviation and Wind Towers co-exist? Let me know your thoughts! Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 ps: Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter "All Things Aviation" here!

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